ThingMonk 2016: Stacey Higginbotham – Building Last Meter Infrastructure for the IoT

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Stacey Higginbotham is the creator of The Internet of Things Podcast and the Stacey Knows Things newsletter. She has spent the last 15 years covering technology and finance. Her bimonthly column on living in the smart home “Get Smart with Stacey” runs every two weeks on PCMag’s site.

When we talk about the internet, the most expensive and challenging aspect is  the last mile. It’s where the fiber meets the road or the bits meet the airwaves. Thanks to a steady improvement in speed, capacity and access, the last mile allows us to binge on Netflix in 4K or get turn by turn directions. But why stop there, Stacey asks. Challenging the architects of the Internet of Things to be more creative as they build last metre infrastructure for the IoT.

Talking about how broadband became an infrastructure that has enabled a whole plethora of services we now take for granted like cloud computing. How when providers of GPS mapping providers switched from charging per locate to charging per user the reduced cost suddenly placed GPS mapping as a core element of infrastructure that could be freely built upon by start ups with new services.

With so many ways to connect, so many protocols, so many hubs and platforms Tracey warned of a tendency to get bogged down in middleware services and data normalisation forgetting that infrastructure is more than just pipes and servers. It should be about services and what they have to offer. She said that regardless of the big players and where the money goes designers should avoid a mentality that means each new development becomes the latest killer app that’s going to substantially increase sales of the platform on which it runs. Instead they should imagine the ways in which it could enable services and build it directly into the infrastructure.

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ThingMonk 2016 (25)